Skin to Skin Development Care (Kangaroo Mother Care)Neuro-developmental scientists agree that breastfeeding and Skin-to-Skin Care or Kangaroo Mother Care, as it is also known, offers all new-born babies the best start possible.
‘Skin to Skin’ means holding your baby, who wears only a nappy and a beanie/cap, directly on your skin with nothing between you, i.e. no clothing or fabric of any kind.
Skin to Skin Care is particularly important for premature babies. Even if your baby is very small and in an incubator it is extremely important for you to hold him skin to skin as soon as possible.
It is also important for your partner to do skin to skin care too!
To learn more visit:
- kangaroomothercare.com, a website primarily for parents.
- skintoskincontact.com, a website primarily aimed at health professionals, and parents wanting a deeper insight into the subject of Skin to Skin Contact. Here you will find the science and evidence for why Kangaroo Mother Care works, as well as information about Dr Nils Bergman’s research, talks and courses both in South African and internationally.
Dr Nils Bergman who specializes in and researches Kangaroo Mother Care in South Africa says:
“The very best environment for a baby to grow and thrive, is the mother’s body. The mother’s skin is the baby’s natural environment, and both physically and emotionally the healthiest place for the baby to be“.
It was a priviledge to share my daughter’s milk. Hope to have another baby soon & loooads of milk!
Skin To Skin Care Benefits for You, the Mother
- Skin to Skin care directly after birth
- Reduces your blood pressure
- Lowers cortisol levels (stress hormones)
- Reduces bleeding
- Increases pain tolerance.
- The above benefits are due to increased oxytocin, the ‘love hormone’, levels that also allows you to relax and bond with your baby.
- Oxytocin and other hormones help to increase your milk production.
- Mothers have the unique ability to regulate their babies’ body temperatures while the baby is skin-to skin on mother’s chest. While fathers can warm their babies effectively, they cannot cool them down.
- Soon you will know exactly when your baby is in a deep sleep or awake and ready to interact or breastfeed.
- The increased carbon dioxide levels when held close to their mothers help to stimulate babies’ breathing.
- Mothers who practice prolonged skin to skin care get to know their babies better and are more confident about caring for and handling their babies.
- During prolonged skin to skin care mothers may experience their baby’s heartbeat being synchronised with their own.
Skin To Skin Care Benefits for Your Baby
- When held skin to skin immediately after birth, babies are twice as likely to breastfeed within the first hour.
- Skin to skin contact soothes babies so effectively that their cortisol (stress hormone) levels decrease.
- Remarkably, the sensation of pain is also reduced when held skin to skin.
- Skin to skin also allows for increased feeding frequency, building up and maintaining a good milk supply.
- Young, especially premature, babies do not have the ability to regulate their own body temperature. However, skin to skin care offers very effective thermo-regulation.
- Skin to skin care increases the development of essential neural pathways, which accelerates your baby’s brain maturation.Babies’ brains also mature and grow most effectively during ‘quiet sleep’. Only skin to skin care allows babies true ‘quiet sleep’ for their brains to grow.
- Enhances immune system – the mother’s mature immune system passes antibodies through her skin and breastmilk to her baby.
- Reduced stress levels during skin to skin care allows for better absorption and digestion of nutrients and therefore improved weight gain.While kept warm in this way these babies reserve more calories and energy, resulting in more weight gain.
- Babies heart rate, blood pressure and breathing patterns are better regulated and more stable during skin to skin care.